Seeing the view from the other side of the commercial insurance fence has given James Brown great insight into what business insurance brokers should and shouldn't be doing for you.
Working in the commercial insurance claims sector is a great way of learning how good, or otherwise, business insurance brokers are.
I did just that for more than ten eye-opening years.
It's certainly true that you only really find out what your broker is made of should you need make a claim.
Unfortunately, if they have fallen short, by then it's too late.
On many occasions insurers rejected or limited claims settlements because the work - the hard work - hadn't been put in to arranging and administering policies.
It's really important that brokers get stuck into the ribs of their clients' businesses.
They need understand what makes them tick, what their key assets are and what their true value is, recognising that value can and will change.
Take as an example commercial property insurance.
Failure to keep pace with the value of property and, crucially, the cost to rebuild it in the event of a total loss, can leave the insured well out of pocket.
Over the past 12 months or so we've seen the cost of construction materials soar, whilst the sector has also been hit by labour shortages.
You don't need be a genius to see how that might affect, say, the cost of rebuilding a factory destroyed by fire.
This is before you take into account architects and other professionals' fees and associated costs such as demolition, excavation and removal of debris.
Now that it's time for the policyholder to claim, the amount the building was insured for rebuilding will very much come into play.
If it was originally insured for £100,000 but the rebuild cost now comes in at £125,000, the insurer will only meet 75% of the cost. That's because the building was underinsured by 25%.
Integrity and accuracy
Before I joined RBIG I did my research. It's important - really important - to me that I fully believe in the service I'm helping deliver. I can't imagine anything more dispiriting than having to promote a product or service in which you don't have faith.
It's a matter of integrity.
I quickly discovered that RBIG and I shared the same values - and put them into practice.
A commitment to personal service is not just words on a website. It's delivered. Every client, large or small benefits from individual attention. Equally important, that attention is meticulous, because the details, big and small, matter..
As I said before, getting things right from the beginning, putting in the hard work, is really important.
One of the first things I noticed about RBIG is the loyalty of its clients.
Once a company has entrusted RBIG with its business insurance needs, they stay. Typically RBIG retains clients for around ten years, often arranging additional covers to meet their changing needs throughout that time.
That points to things being done right not just at renewal, but throughout the term of a policy and beyond.
The same is true of RBIG's financial services arm where again, integrity, attention to detail and a genuinely personal service are at the fore.
Armed with bagfuls of research reassurance I joined the company knowing I would have full confidence in the quality of service offered. That I could proudly put my name to it.
Whilst I don't want to sound to evangelical about it, I am genuinely excited to be out and about spreading the RBIG message.
So, whether you're an existing RBIG client, or a business giving us the once over as your renewal looms, please feel free to get in touch.
I'd be happy to have an informal chat about your commercial insurance needs, by 'phone, in person or via videoconferencing.